Saturday, January 9, 2016

They call me an "unlikely" addict....but what does that even mean?

I cannot count the number of times that people have been shocked to learn that I am a drug addict.  I repeatedly hear things like "You don't look like an addict", or "I never in a million years would have dreamed you were an addict!". In fact, just yesterday, someone in the mental health field was taken aback when I told her my story.  She said, "When you were walking down the hall, all I could think was that you were a girl who really had something...that you had it all together.  And such cute boots!"  But, addiction is not really something that can be stereotyped.  You see, an unlikely addict is an addict nonetheless.  So...I guess I am an unlikely addict.

But where does the story of an unlikely addict begin? 
Naturally, it should begin here:    

The unlikely addict grew up in a Christian home. She definitely had to have been sheltered from the corruption of the outside world. When kids at her school were singing, "Ice Ice Baby", she wondered why in the world these pre-adolescents were singing about frozen infants.  Whatever...she felt sorry for them. She NEVER said curse words, just in case cussing was, in fact, the unpardonable sin. She would not dare watch a PG-13 or R rated movie. Secretly, she imagined armed security guards standing inside the movie theater, arresting, handcuffing, and booking those under the age limit who dared enter in.  She loved to go to church, to memorize Bible verses, to sing, and--because her dad was a preacher--she loved to go to the empty church with her friends and just play church. She would sing, testify, and even sneak down to the classrooms and play with the flannel boards.  If you grew up in an old-fashioned, Sunday School teachin' church, you know exactly what I am talking about...aaaaand you are probably jealous that I had free reign of flannel Baby Jesus, the manger, Pharoah, David, the sheep, Lazarus, and the  E M P T Y tomb. At 12 years old, her best friend (who was 1/2 her size) taught her how to swim.  She stood on a diving board with swimmies on her arms and a float around her waist, believing her teeny-tiny blonde friend would "catch her" when she jumped. She was that innocent and naïve.  

During the evenings and weekends, while her friends were out diving into their newfound freedom as teenagers, she found herself happily babysitting and playing house.  As she fed babies and kids, washed dishes, and bathed dirty toddlers after an evening of playing, taking walks, feeding the ducks, and pushing tiny humans on little swings, she told herself this must be what it was like to be married and have children.  Easy.  Peaceful.  Simple. Amazing. She just knew her life would be picture-perfect. She would rock her children to sleep at night, probably singing a Carpenter's song (maybe Close to You?) while a gentle breeze blew through an ever so cracked window. Said baby would sleep through the night, and would not awaken until she was finished making a homemade breakfast for her husband who was leaving for a long day at work: all of this before the sun had even decided to wake up. (Geeezzz...where did she come up with this stuff???...she couldn't get out of bed til noon!!!) Nevertheless, life would just be one grand fairytale.  She was sure of that.

She entered into high school, and was a pretty good kid.  She rarely got into trouble, except on the rare occasion that she did.  She tried smoking and drinking a couple of times, but she was instantly filled with remorse so strong that she knew she never wanted to feel that red-hot shame again, that shame so strong she was sure her sins were written on her face. She fell in love with one of her best guy friends, and began a high-school romance that most only dream about. Her weeknights were spent talking on the phone until well past her curfew, when her dad's voice would come on the line telling her it was time to end the call.  She and her boyfriend would giggle, all the while arguing over who was going to say the final good-bye (after all, it would be atleast eight hours before they would hear one another's voice).  Her weekends consisted of shopping, dining out, going to the movies, and driving around in a convertible, probably singing "Oh, How I Love Jesus" in perfect harmony. She got engaged her senior year, and they married the following Spring.  She was young, naive, and she thought life would be perfect.

But, she was also judgmental.  She thought the struggles that so many people faced would never come anywhere near her family, let alone affect her personally.  She bought into all of the stereotypes of a drug addict.  She would look at an old beat up car and naturally think it belonged to an addict.  She would pass a young mom with a baby on her hip and a cigarette in her mouth and feel deep pity for that poor child of a drug addict/prostitute.  While she shared her condemnation and judgment with any passerby, one thing she did not share was the love of Christ or the gospel...or any sense of compassion. She was just glad she was not "one of them."  

As she grew older, addiction hit very close to home, in her husband's and her immediate families.  She just didn't get it.  She believed that the families should just turn their backs on the "black sheep", because, after all, being an addict was a choice that he/she made.  It was all a choice. A choice.  These drug addicts should be able to quit using just by seeing the pain they caused their family members.  It couldn't be that hard to quit, right??? She did not get it. Unfortunately, she would one day get the unwanted opportunity to live the constant hell of addiction...for herself.

So, I've told you where the story of an unlikely addict begins.  The middle is so full it can't be disclosed in one setting.  Now, where does it end?  Well, the story is far from over, but I can tell you where she has stood.  

She has stood on the brink of death.
She has stood in a pit so deep that she nearly took her own life.

She has stood silently in the middle of the night at the bedside of her precious, innocent children  watching them sleep and vowed that she would never pick another bottle up as long as she lived.
The following morning, she stood in front of the medicine cabinet, once again, powerless over the stronghold this addiction had on her.

She stood in shame and willingly swallowed that bitter death. 

She stood in front of countless doctors, seeking sympathy from them to get what she wanted.  

She stood and lied to her husband.
She stood in front of sponsors, counselors, friends, and asked for help, not really sure that she wanted it. 

She stood staring in the mirror at herself, wondering how this had become her life.
She stood and watched her life going down the toilet.
She stood in some places and situations that she would be humiliated to tell you about.  

She stood and idly watched her family fall apart. 

She stood on stages and sang about God's love and grace.  

She stood and told of the struggles in her life.  

She stood in a detox unit finally ready to put an end to the madness.  

She stood and walked into the door of a beautiful treatment facility on the top of a mountain. 

She stood and held the hands of girls who became sisters fighting on the same side against the same enemy.  

She stood.  

And she is still standing. 

She is coming out of hiding; out of shame.  

She is standing up to tell her story. 

To tell His story.  


  1. Thank you Misty for trusting me to share your story with. There was something so real about you from the first time I met you.I can see how God has been in your life always. When we have low points in our life's......he never leaves us,we just have to remember that. Proud of you little girl !!!!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing in my story, and thank you for your words!

    2. Thank you so much for sharing in my story, and thank you for your words!

  2. Your honesty and strength thru this struggle has been and will continue to be a great encouragement to me always, friend! I love you and admire you! And i stand with you. In weakness and in strength.

    1. Thanks Rashelle. Thankful for you. Love you friend!

    2. Thanks Rashelle. Thankful for you. Love you friend!

  3. Misty, thank you for sharing your story. I'm sure it's not an easy thing to do but I'm so happy that you are doing it. I know it will help so many people. You definitely have the gift of writing. I know God is using you to reach so many people. So proud of you!

    1. Thank you so much Penny! And thank you for helping me out 😉

    2. Thank you so much Penny! And thank you for helping me out 😉

  4. I am just getting caught up on your story. Thank you for sharing, it means a lot. ❤️

  5. My addict nephew was just shot to death by his Father, my brother. Our family is reeling and asking "why" and wondering why someone didn't intervene. Probably could ot have done anything. He came around to get things, steal, and lie.